Video – Handstand practice while travelling in Pushkar

Practicing handstand in our nice little room at Rising Star Guest House in Pushkar.

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Whether we practice yoga with pure or impure intention, all is good…

It really doesn’t matter if people practice yoga or just the yoga asana exercises with pure intention or impure intention, all is good…

At least during that few moments of yoga practice or performing the yoga asana exercises, whether we do it with pure intention or selfish intention, we are moving the body and mind away from committing worldly passionate activities and unwholesome activities…

We are not taking any intoxicants or drugs. (Except for those who cannot live without intoxicants or drugs even for a few moments…)

We are not indulging in sensual enjoyments of sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch and thoughts… (Except in certain modernized yoga classes nowadays which include passionate sensual decorations, aromatic incense or fragrances, musics, beautifully designed yoga clothings and accessories, special materials for cushioning and positioning, temperature control and etc, into the yoga class or the space for yoga practice)

We are not engaging in gossiping or slandering or back-bitting or criticizing or scolding or blaming (we should be in silence while performing yoga practice being busy observing and minding our breath and stay focus on what we are doing)… We are not talking, expressing, arguing, discussing, debating, teasing, mocking, boasting, lying, justifying and etc… All these restrictions are there to restrict the speech organ and silent the thought currents, as well as eliminating the ego… (Except in some of the yoga group class where complete silence is not being observed. For example, chitchatting or socializing during the class with the other practitioners or continue to be communicating with somebody outside the class through the phone… Or even in our own self-practice at home, we couldn’t let go of the phone calls or messages… Or imagine that we try to hold our breath (Pranayama) and being angry and arguing with somebody at the same time? It’s an extremely difficult task to do…)

While performing the yoga practice (self-control over the thoughts, actions and speech, self-introspection and observation, mindfulness, chantings, prayers, study of the yoga scriptures, practice of asana and pranayama, limiting and restricting the senses inputs, practice of concentration and meditation, performing Kriya yoga, performing selfless service or Karma yoga and etc…) or just performing the yoga asana practice, we are not engaging in watching movies or show performances; reading novels or magazines or newspapers; eating or drinking; listening to music (There’s no special music background in traditional yoga practice like in most of the yoga classes nowadays conducted in many yoga centres. There’s only natural sounds of nature and the environment in the background. Some yoga teachers even cracked their head in search for different music albums for their classes because the yoga students might be complaining for playing the same music over and over again…); lying on soft bed; thinking; worrying; imagining; anticipating; speculating; planning; scheming; creating; interacting; socializing; committing sexual or reproduction activities; or doing any worldly passionate social activities apart from exercising and training the body and mind to be pure, calm and still, and be free from thinking or possessing worldly objects… All these are the practice of controlling the senses and withdrawing the senses from the sense objects. This is practicing self-control, control of the mind, purification, dispassion and detachment…

In those moments of yoga practice, worldly connections or relationships with “this and that” disappear… There is no easy life or hard life, there is no good relationship or bad relationship, there is no happy moments or unhappy moments, there is no enjoyment or suffering, there is no good people or bad people… Just the body and mind performing the yoga practice…

In those moments while we are engaging in sincere yoga practice, we are not creating any disturbance or bad influences into the environment or the world…

The entire yoga practice itself is nothing but bringing positive benefits or impacts into our own body and mind, and the world…

When we perform any yoga practice whether with pure or impure intention, we are purifying, harmonizing, charging, balancing and calming the energy fields in our body and mind, and naturally this will be benefiting the entire world…

In those few moments, there is less a being generating harms or damages into the world…

At least during those few moments of yoga practice while being silent and being attentive in performing the physical movements of the yoga practice, we control and restrain our body and mind from performing any evil thoughts, actions and speech that will cause disharmony in ourselves and other people or the world…

We are not committing or involved physically or mentally in wars, killings, lying, hatred, greed, jealousy, gossips, criticisms, slandering, back-bitting, violence, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy, stealing, politics, agendas, propagandas, power, position and etc… We are temporary being moved away from any worldly egoistic activities… (Except in those whose mind is still busy with thinking about worldly activities and sense objects while performing the yoga practice… That means they are not really concentrating on what they are doing…)

And so, it really doesn’t matter what are the intentions or motives or reasons or desires that bring people to be practicing yoga, whether it is pure or impure, authentic or inauthentic, for spirituality, for physical fitness, for beauty, for youthfulness, for mobility, for strength, for health, for wealth, for fame, for satisfaction, for achievement, or for anything, it is all good…

It is better than engaging in unwholesome activities that will harm ourselves and others…

Those few moments of sincere yoga practice is actually being compassionate towards ourselves and the world…

The mind can only do one thing at one time… Even just by observing the breath for one tiny moment… That is already the greatest moment of peace and compassion…

Be happy…

Om shanti.

Why do we practice yoga?

Yoga practice is for all types of people or beings with different characteristics, personalities, believes, motives and expectations or desires…

Whatever we think yoga is, whatever we want yoga to be, or however we want to be benefited from yoga practice, whether for selfish intention or for selfless intention, it is fine. Yoga is there for us for anything that we desire (what we want) or do not desire (what we don’t want)…

Some people do the yoga asana exercises as a fitness exercise to look good and feel good; for sustaining and improving physical and mental health and fitness; for slimming or to put on weight; for countering illnesses; for easier breathing; for detoxification remove toxic substances from our system; for countering stress; for better quality of sleep; for rehabilitation from physical and emotional injuries; for having better body alignments and posture; for over-all beauty and sense of well-being; for personal satisfaction and achievements; for passing time; for removing boredom or loneliness; for building self-esteem or confidence; for coming out from certain addictions; for healing purposes; for exploring and unfolding “things” beyond what our mind can perceive; for playing with the energy fields in our body; for attaining calmness and peacefulness; for relaxation; for creativity; for self-image; for socializing; for finding the better half; for pleasing somebody; for humanity; for ourselves; for the world; for being able to stand on our hands and our head, or to be able to bring our feet towards our head from behind; or mainly out of curiosity to try it out, since it is quite a popular “thing to do” and “topic to gossip about”; for fun; or just to do “something”, and etc…

Some people do yoga asana for the purpose of balancing, purifying and calming the energy fields; stimulating and energizing the energy centres; unblocked any energy blockage; channeling the energy for higher spiritual realization; generate and conserving energy; changing the habits of the mind; changing how the mind feels and thinks; developing concentration, awareness and mindfulness; developing non-identification with the body and mind, letting go of the ego; letting go of judgment, comparison and expectation; letting go of pride and arrogance; letting go of discontentment and greed; letting go of craving and aversion; letting go of frustration, anger and hatred; developing patience, forbearance, non-attachment, adjustment, adaptation, accommodation, cheerfulness, vitality, acceptance, and etc; being in the present moment now, accepting the present moment now as it is, accepting ourselves as we are in the present moment now as it is; letting go of physical, mental and emotional tensions; letting go of jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, anxiety, agitation, depression, negative thinking, low self-esteem, fear and worry; removing restlessness; purifying the mind remove impurities, and etc…, as part of the yoga practice, to prepare the body and mind for meditation to contemplate on the Truth of who we really are, to realize selflessness or compassion, and be free from ignorance and suffering that derived from ignorance, and realize eternal and unconditional peace, transcending birth and death, worldly existence, names and forms, qualities and dualities…

Beside the yoga asana as part of yoga practice, yoga practice consists of but not limiting to – observing ethical moral conducts (Yama & Niyama); restraining wants and desires; renunciation from worldly activities; renounce from the fruit of actions; restricting senses inputs; controlling the thoughts, actions and speech; performing Japas, Bhajans, Kirtans, chantings and prayers; performing Kriyas; study and contemplating on the Yoga Scriptures or the teachings of yoga; practice loving kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, honesty, truthfulness, simplicity, compassion, wisdom, dispassion, detachment, solitude, silence, austerity, celibacy, selfless service, faith and devotion towards the Truth and the universal consciousness, breath control – Pranayama, withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses – Pratyahara, concentration – Dharana, meditation – Dhyana, and annihilation of the mind – Samadhi…

There are also many other unlimited intentions, motives and expectations in people who practice yoga or just the yoga asana exercises, such as :-

To teach yoga exercises as livelihood, or to start yoga school(s) or yoga centre(s) as a money making business, to attain wealth, name and fame, or mainly to share the greatness of yoga with many other beings…

To train the body and mind to be able to do some artistic or acrobatic moves for show performances, or as personal achievement and satisfaction, or for entertainment, or for competition, or for taking photos or making videos to share with others or to make some profits, or for any other reasons…

To enhance memories, brains activities, mind’s clarity, productivity and creativity…

To improve relationship, quality of life and quality of work…

To be able to sleep better, to balance up imbalanced hormones, to deal with everyday stress and frustration…

To tap the power of thoughts to make our wishes come true…

To let go of physical, mental or emotional pain, hurts and suffering…

To be a better person or human being…

To be able to say “no” without feeling guilty…

To be open-minded…

To be able to receive and give…

To be able to love and receive love…

To accept ourselves…

To be ourselves…

To love ourselves…

To be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings…

To be what we want to be even if we think we are not “good” at it…

To be happy…

To be truly confident…

To know the truth of suffering…

To know the truth of existence…

To know who we really are…

To connect with the source in us…

To be pure…

To be free, to be liberated…

For humanity and world peace…

Or just be…

Om shanti.

Yoga practice exists to transcend ignorance and suffering…

Yoga practice exists for beings who are in suffering and who wish to transcend suffering…

If somebody who is peaceful, who is free from suffering, then this being doesn’t need to practice yoga… Because this being already knew the Truth about suffering, which is the end of yoga practice…

If our body is sick, then we need to consult a medical doctor and take some medicine to cure whatever sickness that we have and be free from sickness… If our body is not sick, we don’t need to consult any doctor or take any medicine to cure anything…

We are not peaceful and not happy, that’s why we are looking for peace and happiness… If we are already peaceful and happy, we don’t need to look for peace and happiness…

Suffering derives from ignorance…

Ignorance is not knowing the Truth of things…

If we know the Truth of things, there is no ignorance, there is no suffering, there is no need of yoga practice…

If we are free from suffering and are in peace, we don’t need to learn or practice yoga… We are already one with yoga, not separated from yoga…

If we are peaceful and happy, we don’t need to do something or not doing something to have peace or to attain peace…

We will be peaceful and happy no matter what we do or don’t do…

The looking, searching and craving for peace and happiness have come to an end…

Yoga practice is there to help us to remove ignorance, to transcend suffering… Without ignorance, there’s no suffering… Without suffering, peace is there…

If we have been performing a lot of yoga and meditation practice, but as long as we are not completely be free from ignorance, we will still be conditioned by unhappiness and suffering because we have craving, clinging, aversion or attachment, that derive from not knowing the Truth of things – being ignorant of the Truth of things…

And the greatest ignorance is being ignorant of ignorance…

When the mind is full of impurities, and is agitated and not calm, then we need to practice yoga and meditation to help to purify the mind and to render it calm and still… If the mind is free from impurities and is calm and in peace, there is no need of any “actions” or “practice” to make the mind pure and calm… It is pure and calm…

When the body and the mind is full of tensions, we need to perform some “actions” or “practice” or “relaxation” to help to release tensions in the body and the mind… If there is no tensions in the body and the mind, there is no need of relaxation or practice or “actions” to release anything… We need relaxation because we are not relaxed… If we are relaxed, do we still need “relaxation” to be relaxed?

And beyond the impermanent forever changing states of the mind, beyond the conditional momentary peaceful calmness of the mind that derives from performing yoga practice, pranayama practice, concentration and meditation practice, is our true nature – unconditional and unlimited real peace that is always there, unchanging, untouched by all states of the mind… It is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor suffering…

The peaceful calmness feeling that comes from the mind after some yoga, pranayama, concentration and meditation practice is impermanent… It will be disturbed and will disappear…

If we are able to go beyond this peaceful state of mind and not attached or clinging onto it, just be aware of the mind being calm or not calm, we are free from being conditioned by any names and forms that the mind is experiencing from moment to moment through the body and the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think… We are always peaceful… That is our true nature, unconditional peace… This peace doesn’t exist nor stop existing… It is not a quality that arise, change and pass away… It is beyond birth and death, beyond existence and non-existence…

There is no craving for peacefulness or happiness… There is no aversion towards unpeacefulness or unhappiness… It is full, content and whole…

Om shanti…

The practice of mind control (Raja Yoga) – renunciation and silence

There are many different types of personalities or temperaments in those who are interested in learning and practicing the ancient techniques of how to control the mind and how to be really peaceful and happy through the path of yoga and meditation.

It doesn’t matter what type of personality that we have, some of us (the mind and the ego) might prefer a passionate outgoing life and like to be active and sociable, some of us might prefer to live a quiet inner life and have less social activities for conserving energy and focus on yoga and meditation practice for Self-realization, and some of us find a balance point between the active sociable outgoing life and the quiet inner life (this exists in those who have self-discipline and self-control).

There is nothing wrong with all these different types of temperaments in different people.

That’s why there are many different paths in yoga to suit all types of temperaments people.

People who are outgoing and like to be active and sociable are suitable for Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action or renounce from the fruit of action) and Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion).

People who are not outgoing are suitable for Raja Yoga (the path of mind control) and Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom).

All paths are not separated from each other and will lead to mental peace, contentment and annihilation of the ego (selflessness and compassion) if the practice is being performed with correct attitude and effort. You’ll see Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga in connection with each other. You’ll be practicing all these paths at the same time when you come to the state of purity and selflessness.

But, no matter which type of yoga or what type of path, the practice of non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination, having intense yearning for liberation and the cultivation of the sixfold paths – tranquility of mind, control of the senses, satiety (renounce from worldly objects, enjoyments and activities), the power of endurance and forbearance, immovable faith (in God for those who believe in God or in Self for those who disbelieve in God, in the teacher, in the teachings), and indifference (balance of mind or equanimity), are the essential basic qualities or cultivation in a Sadhaka or Yogi.

The path of mind control is to turn the outgoing mind inward and make the mind introspective.

In order to achieve this inward state of mind, the observation of Self-restraint (control of our own thoughts, action and speech), morality, silence (Mauna) and celibacy (control of sexual desire), the practice of Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses) and one-pointedness of mind (concentration), lessening the number of thoughts, the cultivation of mental non-attachment and reduction of wants and desires, avoid too much talking or walking, avoid too much eating or fasting, avoid too much physical activities, avoid too much mixing with worldly minded people, avoid novel and newspaper-reading, avoid visiting cinemas or movies watching, develop Antarmukha-Vritti (making the outgoing tendency of the mind turn inward upon itself), and etc, all these are the very important practice in the path of yoga and meditation.

These practice are not just to purify and calming the mind, but also to conserve energy and channel the externalizing energy turn inward for spiritual Sadhana to realize the Truth.

All these practice can be performed and should be performed while living in the midst of the distracting world of names and forms. If we only can observe these practice while in an Ashram or in a retreat centre for a short period of time, but once we go back into the worldly life, we cannot or do not follow and continue all these practice, and are constantly being distracted and disturbed by all the names and forms, then whatever practice we perform will not bring us to the real peace (free from doubts, ignorance, fear and worry).

At one moment we might feel peaceful and at some other times, we might feel unpeaceful and restless due to the fluctuation of the mind activities or mental thought-waves (come from all the inputs – perception of names and forms through the senses; and outputs – expression of ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions and egoism through action and speech, physically and mentally).

Yoga and meditation is to starve the mind or deprive the mind from activities (ideas and thoughts) by Vairagya and Tyaga (renunciation of desires, objects and egoism).

But this type of inner life is being criticized by the passionate worldly people as “anti-social”. But a true Yogi or Sadhaka is not a bit disturbed nor moved by this type of criticism that comes from the worldly minded people, it’s because they cannot understand the importance of the practice of renunciation and silence, and they have not yet experience the eternal and real inner peace that comes from renunciation and silence. Worldly minded passionate people seek after the momentary and conditional satisfaction and happy feelings that come from doing the things and getting the objects that we want and like. There is nothing wrong with this. But when things don’t turn out the way that we want them to be, we’ll get disappointed, frustrated and unhappy, forever restless being influenced and over-powered by all the attachments, and the craving and aversion in our own mind.

When the mind is rendered pure, calm and at peace, undisturbed nor distracted by all the names and forms, then this Yogi or Sadhaka can mix freely in the world to perform selfless service but will not be influenced nor affected by the world and the fruit of action, as he is firmly established in non-attachment and renunciation. He can be truly compassionate when he knows non-attachment and renunciation. He won’t be disturbed nor affected by the result of his compassionate actions. There is no difference between respectful and disrespectful, success and failure, good and bad beings, censure and praise, happiness and suffering. He is unconditioned by all the names and forms of good and bad.

Be free. Be really peaceful and happy.

Om shanti.

When the outgoing tendencies of the mind are arrested, when the mind is restrained within the heart, when all its attention is turned on itself alone, that condition is Antarmukha-Vritti. The Sadhaka can do a lot of Sadhana when he has this inward Vritti. Vairagya and introspection help a lot in the attainment of this mental state.

He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free.

Concentration and Meditation – Swami Sivananda